Eternal life is living in God’s welcome

This week’s Journey to Eternity sermon is about welcome. The word welcome is one way you could summarize God’s mission to humanity through Christ. Jesus eliminates any obstacle to our welcome at God’s heavenly feast through the sacrifice of His body on the cross. For our sermon text, I looked at Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus, in which Zacchaeus is saved from his sins not by being chastised or argued into a corner, but through Jesus inviting himself over for lunch. The sermon audio and manuscript are both below.
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Sarah Moon and unmerciful #universalism

A week ago, ex-evangelical blogger Sarah Moon wrote a post titled: “When my abuser is welcome at the table, I am not,” taking aim at the presumptuousness with which some progressive Christians champion a table where everyone is welcome. A friend had told Moon that she should be grateful Jesus died for the man who raped her and she should accept him as her fellow forgiven sinner. Though Moon wasn’t necessarily writing about life after death, the pain she shares illustrates the problem with universalism. Wouldn’t God be lacking in mercy for the victims of abuse to force them to spend eternity in communion with their abusers? Continue Reading

How worship makes us welcome others

Sermon preached at Burke UMC LifeSign service 10/8/2011
Text: Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Many of you know that I have been coaching my son’s soccer team this fall. Not only do I not know what I’m doing, but my son is often uninterested in kicking the ball or even staying on the field. Our game last Saturday was cold and rainy. The other team’s coach and I decided to play anyway since we’ve had so many games rescheduled because of weather. One kid on my team is a beast who attacks the ball no matter where it is and keeps running the entire 8 minute quarter. I’m often reluctant to pull him out of the game. Well in the third quarter, he was starting to run out of steam, so the next time the ball went out of bounds, I took out our star player and put in my son. Continue Reading

When Welcome is a Problem

Sermon preached at Burke UMC Lifesign contemporary service 9/24/2011
Text: Luke 7:36-50

Simon had a hospitality problem. He had invited a group of rabbis to an intimate gathering to hear this fascinating street prophet from Galilee. They had been waiting all week to pick his brain about the theological issues of their day. Some were skeptical. This Jesus character hung out with tax collectors and illiterate fishermen. But his connection with the masses was so electrifying. Simon had heard him speak before. And he really did feel like Jesus was a true prophet. Attendance had been sagging in Simon’s synagogue. He was burned out. He wanted to study the new prophet and find out his secret. He needed inspiration. Continue Reading